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News In Brief


A Clinton advisor defended the president's decision to quickly shut down two blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House to traffic last weekend. While some city officials aren't happy with the move, President Clinton said it was a ''practical step to preserve freedom and peace of mind.'' The April 19 bombing in Oklahoma City and several other incidents at the White House last year have heightened concern about presidential security.

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The National Rifle Association warned Clinton that its 3.5 million members would do everything possible to get him voted out of office. The association, which held its annual convention over the weekend, has most recently come under fire for a fund-raising letter that referred to federal law-enforcement agents as ''jack-booted government thugs.'' The group has also suffered because of heightened revulsion for armed violence following the Oklahoma City bombing.


Microsoft Corporation abandoned its planned $2 billion acquisition of Intuit Inc. because of a legal challenge from the Justice Department and the possibility of protracted litigation. It would have been the largest deal ever in the software industry. The nixed deal with Intuit, whose Quicken software is the most popular personal-finance computer program in the US, will significantly slow Microsoft's entry into the world of electronic commerce and could alter choices that consumers have among computerized financial and banking services.


The administration will review new documents turned over by Vietnam, which may contain clues about the fate of some of the 1,619 missing American servicemen, before deciding whether to move toward establishing full diplomatic ties with Hanoi. Two officials said Clinton's policy requires the fullest possible accounting about MIAs before there can be normalization of relations.


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Missouri Governor Carnahan said his state, which has been hit by flooding from the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, will need federal help once the water recedes. The flooding, caused by last week's torrential rain, has forced hundreds from their homes. Some 1,200 people have been evacuated in Illinois's two worst-hit counties -- Madison and St. Clair -- and 13 counties have been declared disaster areas.


CBS News removed Connie Chung, the second woman to be a regular anchor on a network TV evening newscast, from her post as co-anchor of the ''CBS Evening News.'' Chung says CBS offered her a lower-ranking anchor position, but she asked to leave the network. CBS also said it likely would cancel Chung's news magazine program, ''Eye to Eye.'' Dan Rather, whose two-year teaming with Chung has sent the show into the ratings cellar, will return to being sole anchor.


The US crime rate dropped 3 percent in 1994, posting a decline for the third straight year, according to an FBI report released yesterday. The federal law-enforcement agency said violent crimes reported to the police nationwide fell 4 percent, while so-called property crimes dropped 3 percent. The three-year decline followed a dramatic eight-year surge in crime, fueled by inner-city murders and drug-related incidents.


A source close to the Oklahoma City bombing case has offered new details on statements given by Michael Fortier, the former Army friend of suspect Timothy McVeigh. According to the Los Angeles Times, Fortier told authorities that he and McVeigh surveyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building as a potential target by going ''floor to floor'' -- ''asking about work and picking up job applications.'' The source also said he and McVeigh discussed blowing up the building and several other sites.


Carmakers reportedly may be recalling 8 million vehicles because of unsafe seat belts. The Detroit News said the seat belts, made by Takata Inc. of Japan, are in cars made by eight Japanese and three US carmakers. The belts reportedly are a risk because pieces could break off and jam the buckling mechanism.


Bosnia's battlefields remained unusually quiet over the weekend while diplomats maneuvered to nudge the warring sides closer to peace negotiations. Serbian President Milosevic and US envoy Robert Frasure are discussing whether Serbia will recognize Bosnia's borders in return for a lifting of international sanctions. Serbs from the Croatian region of Krajina, meanwhile, voted for unification with Bosnian Serbs. The assembly of the self-declared Republic of Serb Krajina said it would call a joint session of the Croatian and Bosnian Serb parliaments by the end of this month to formalize the unification.


Russian forces renewed shelling of rebel positions in Chechnya yesterday in an effort to wipe out the last pockets of resistance on the breakaway region's lowlands. Itar-Tass news agency, meanwhile, reported that the body found last week in Chechnya was not that of a missing American disaster expert, Frederic Cuny.


PLO chairman Arafat's Fatah group urged him to suspend peace talks with Israel until the Jewish state rescinds a decision to confiscate Arab land in Jerusalem. It was the first time Fatah, the largest Palestinian movement supporting the peace deal, urged halting talks. An aide to Arafat said the talks would go ahead. Arab leaders angry at Israeli plans to confiscate the land will meet in Morocco May 27.


US and North Korean negotiators wrapped up their first day of new talks without indicating whether their deal to dismantle the North's nuclear program could be rescued. The meeting, which is expected to last several days, could decide whether North Korea abides by an agreement signed last October to freeze its nuclear programs.


Zairean authorities admitted that a week-long quarantine of the capital Kinshasa was not effective in stopping people traveling from the region and have lifted a road blockade. The World Health Organization criticized the closure. The government imposed the blockade to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. The death toll in southwestern Zaire has risen to 101.


With less than a month left in the UN's peacekeeping mandate in Rwanda, the relationship between the UN and the Rwandan government has soured, the New York Times reported. Talks about renewing the mandate, which expires June 9, have been ''tough and tense,'' senior UN officials said. The US, meanwhile, said it will contribute $7 million to courts prosecuting suspected leaders of last year's genocide in Rwanda.


The leader of the breakaway faction of India's ruling Congress said the split had been caused by Prime Minister Rao's unresponsiveness to pleas for change in the party. Narain Dutt Tiwari was proclaimed Congress president by thousands of party rebels at a rally in New Dehli Friday. Rao immediately expelled Tiwari and convened an emergency session of the party's main governing body, the Congress Working Committee, to endorse his action and to declare the rebels' move unconstitutional.


Chinese police detained for questioning yesterday former student leader Wang Dan. At least five dissidents have been taken into custody in the run-up to the sixth anniversary of the June 4 crackdown on student demonstrators.


Sri Lanka's armed forces are preparing for a major offensive against Tamil separatist rebels and have begun to take delivery of new arms and equipment. Government troops killed four rebels over the weekend.


Russian and Bulgarian officials played down rifts over Sofia's ambitions to join NATO during a two-day visit by Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. Officials focused instead on plans to boost economic ties.


The government is scared to death. But what are they scared of? We have no plans to stage demonstrations.... All we are asking for is tolerance.''

Dissident Xu Liangying on the run-up to Beijing's sixth anniversary of the June 4 crackdown on demonstrators

Chinese archaeologists have found some 700 reptile fossils that are 240 million years old. They are being called ''Guizhou dragons'' for their resemblance to the mythical beasts. Dating from the Triassic period, the creatures may be 100 million years older than dinosaurs.


There are fewer frogs and 45 million more TVs in the world than last year, according to a report by the Worldwatch Institute. Chemical contamination in at least 17 countries is harming the frogs, researchers said. Almost half the world can now watch TV.


London's Sunday Times said Margaret Thatcher delivers her harshest indictment yet of Prime Minister John Major in the second volume of her memoirs. Thatcher attacks Major for moving Britain closer to the European Union, the paper reported.


Friendly governments are helping Vietnamese officials learn English before the country joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in July. Vietnam will become ASEAN's seventh member, joining Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Average Annual Hikes In Tuition and Fees

(Percentage increase for four-year undergraduate public and private colleges)

Years Public Private

1980-'81 4% 10%

1981-'82 16 13

1982-'83 20 13

1983-'84 12 11

1984-'85 8 9

1985-'86 9 8

1986-'87 6 8

1987-'88 6 8

1988-'89 4 9

1989-'90 8 9

1990-'91 7 8

1991-'92 14 7

1992-'93 11 7

1993-'94 8 7

1994-'95 6 6

Average tuition and fees

1994-'95 $2,576 $9,995

Source: The College Board

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